A considerable portion of ISIS funds, donations, and war chests are sitting in cryptocurrencies, thus called ISIS Bitcoin fund. This is the report of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), which fights against extremist groups. The non-profit organization revealed the ISIS Bitcoin fund preference in it’s latest finding shared with The National.
ISIS funds are donated in cryptocurrency
Given that transactions with digital currencies are anonymous, the CEP is suggesting that ISIS Bitcoin funds are being highly publicized for the supporter, which enables them to continue terrorist acts. The anonymity of cryptocurrency also allows them to get around security measures.
The CEP also mentioned that the group’s missing war chest, which is worth Dh1.1 billion ($300 million), could be hidden in cryptocurrencies, to keep them out-of-reach for the authorities. According to Hans-Jakob Schindler, the director of CEP, the missing ISIS fund has been sought for about three years. He added:
I’m wondering if from 2017 to 2020 there has been $300m that we have not found, and that’s why I’m thinking this might have been one of the ways it might have been used. This would be an ideal storage mechanism until it is needed. If done right, it would be unfindable and unseizable for most governments.
ISIS Bitcoin funding continues to gain ground
The terrorist group, ISIS, is reportedly the first to be prosecuted for digital currency activities in the court. Schindler noted that Hamas and ISIS have been using crypto for the past six years. A United States teenager was given an 11 years jail term for providing a manual to contribute to ISIS Bitcoin funds.
Yaya Fanusie, another expert fighting against terrorism, disclosed the increase in adverts by terrorist groups, which called for digital donations on fundraising sites. Fanusie has been studying the rate of crypto usage by these groups for the past four years.
Schindler conclusively urged the European Union governments to jointly enforce a tighter regulatory framework to discourage ISIS Bitcoin funding and other cryptocurrencies used by the terrorist groups before the issue emerges to a “$100m problem.”